Quiet. The word comes to me with my mother’s pleading voice: “Could I please just have a little peace and quiet?” It didn’t seem like too much to ask, and we’d do our best to accommodate her. We’d lower our voices, or take our game to another room. We’d send the little kids outside to play. We’d head upstairs to our own shared bedrooms.
Later, when I had my own family, I realized what a huge request my mother was making. My mother had nine children of her own, plus an assortment of others. There were kids from the neighborhood, our friends from school, and children she babysat for. Though we were timid children, we were not quiet by nature.
When my father wasn’t at work, he was often teasing the kids, just to make them squeal. Our home was always open to folks that Dad knew from Beaver Island, where he grew up. One or more were often there, reminiscing with Dad about the “good old days.” Yet my mother craved quiet.
I had one husband and two daughters. The only time I ever had “peace and quiet” was in the middle of the night when every one else was asleep. And I was often awake then, no matter how tired I was, just for the peace that time offered me. Like my mother, I like the quiet.
For all of the time they lived in my house, I enforced a bedtime for my daughters. Just to give me a little time to myself. I had to be up early for work, or classes, but without a peaceful time to wind down, I’d never be able to fall asleep.
Now, I live alone. My house is silent, except when the county road truck going by sets my dogs off into a fit of barking. And, I still enjoy the quiet. If it seems too still, rarely, I’ll put the radio on for company. I talk to myself and to the dogs, though, just like when I’m around other people, I’m not particularly chatty. I like the quiet!